Saturday, November 13th was National TWLOHA Day. To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

TWLOHA is a group that is reaching out to those who desperately need it. They are educating those who are ignorant. They share stories of people that have risen from the ashes to encourage those that feel like they will never rise again. They provide hope…something that people often don’t have the courage believe in.

I started my battle with depression when I was about 13 years old. Seeing that I am now 32 years old, it has been a long journey. And I am still on it. I don’t think that the journey will ever end and I am ok with that. As long as I stay on the right path, I’ll be ok. Depression is not something that you can just ‘snap out of’. I hate when people say that to me. It actually hurts my feelings that they think I wouldn’t change my situation if it were that simple. It is a process…a long, tedious process….at least it has been for me.

Here is the bottom line. We are all humans with feelings and emotions. We all deserve respect and a chance at life. Sometimes, people screw that up…but don’t you think they deserve a second chance? We deserve to love and be loved…unconditionally. Truly unconditional love…once you experience it, you will never know how you survived without it.

I dare you to go into this world and be brave. Be so brave that you ask for help when you need it. Make and keep true friends without drama and bullshit. Be loyal to them and help them when they are in need. And ask the same of them. Be honest and not afraid to go to battle with them. WITH them, not for them…you can’t fight their fights…but you can stand by them and fight with them. And it’s ok to lose some of those battles…it will only make you stronger. You will win in the end. ‘If you do some losing or you walk with someone else in their defeat, live with dignity and grace. It is a middle finger to the darkness.’
The following is the Vision Statement for TWLOHA. It is amazingly powerful. Take a minute to stop what you are doing and actually read it. Understand it. Live it. Hope…believe…love….you might just save someone’s life. Or maybe even your own.


The vision is that we actually believe these things…

You were created to love and be loved.  You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story.  You need to know that your life matters.

We live in a difficult world, a broken world.  My friend Byron is very smart – he says that life is hard for most people most of the time.  We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments.  You need to know that you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck. 
We all wake to the human condition.  We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss.  Millions of people live with problems of pain.  Millions of homes are filled with questions – moments and seasons and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay.  We know that pain is very real.  It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real. 

You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption.  We’re seeing it happen.  We’re seeing lives change as people get the help they need.  People sitting across from a counselor for the first time.  People stepping into treatment.  In desperate moments, people calling a suicide hotline.  We know that the first step to recovery is the hardest to take.  We want to say here that it’s worth it, that your life is worth fighting for, that it’s possible to change. 

Beyond treatment, we believe that community is essential, that people need other people, that we were never meant to do life alone. 

The vision is that community and hope and help would replace secrets and silence.  

The vision is people putting down guns and blades and bottles. 

The vision is that we can reduce the suicide rate in America and around the world.

The vision is that we would learn what it means to love our friends, and that we would love ourselves enough to get the help we need.

The vision is better endings.  The vision is the restoration of broken families and broken relationships.  The vision is people finding life, finding freedom, finding love.  The vision is graduation, a Super Bowl, a wedding, a child, a sunrise.  The vision is people becoming incredible parents, people breaking cycles, making change.  
The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.  

The vision is the possibility that we’re more loved than we’ll ever know.  

The vision is hope, and hope is real.

You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.

It Still Sucks…..

I totally lost it today. Most of you would probably say that I either lost it a long time ago or never had it to start with…and you are probably right…but now it’s official.

Tom and I travelled to Hutchinson, KS this past weekend for his ‘Yellow Ribbon’ drill, which is designed to ‘prepare’ families for the upcoming deployment. Some information was very helpful, some boring, some speakers were really annoying, some very insightful. Throw in a mix of personal deployment experiences and you have a little bit of everything.

Now, I am an emotional person. I know, that is NOT news to any of you. And anyone that knows me also knows that I am a sucker for people that cry…especially men…ESPECIALLY soldiers. I mean really, could you please just kill puppes in front of me while you are at it? I was so proud of myself this weekend….I didn’t cry. Of course, I didn’t see any soldiers cry…but I heard their stories…which is enough to set my waterworks off. I was a strong Army wife and didn’t shed a tear.

Until the ride to work tonight.

Ugh…I think my car has water damage. Seriously. I get in my car and flip to my iPod because I haven’t listened to that playlist much lately. Press shuffle and we are good to go. First song: Man in The Mirror. I love that damn song and it gets me everytime. I shed a few tears…but that’s normal. I’m breathing….I’m good.

Yeah right. God has a sick sense of humor when it comes to me.

Next random song….’Red On A Rose’ by Alan Jackson. Our wedding song. Are you freaking KIDDING me?!?! Uncontrollable sobbing. For the next 20 minutes. I am not really even sure what other songs played….I was too busy trying not to drown myself.

The reality of this deployment is finally starting to hit me. We have a lot to get done before Tom leaves. A LOT. And there are a lot of important/scary/life changing decisions that need to be made in a short time. For both of us. And although I do most of the finances (ok, all) myself and most of the housework (when I get around to it) myself also….it’s still gonna suck. Who is going to take out my trash every week?? Who is going to mow my lawn? Who is going to wake me up for day shift in February?! Who is gonna put up with me when I am cranky? Tom is not going to be around. AT ALL. EVER.

Well, for at least a year, anyway.

I know that I will survive this deployment. I am aware that I am strong-willed and have great friends to help me through it. I know that. But it still sucks. And I know that it’s better than Tom going to Iraq or Afghanistan. I know that, too. But it still sucks. I know that I will get to see him for at least ten days sometime while he’s gone. I know that, too. But it still sucks. I know that it’s better this way since we don’t have kids. Yep, know that, too! BUT IT STILL SUCKS. (Those are all actual quotes from others by the way).

**Hangs head down and whispers to self  ‘It still sucks’** (Anyone watch The Middle?)

Oh, and for anyone that might be randomly stalking my blog….I will be sleeping with my overly-protective-when-daddy-is-gone dog and a loaded Glock next to my bed. I don’t suggest trying to find me. 🙂